I always appreciate a good biography written for children, especially one that inspires young girls to be their best. During a weekend with some of our grandchildren, I had the opportunity to read about 8 of the books in a series, “Ordinary People Change the World,” by Brad Meltzer. Their other grandma, who is an avid reader, had sent this suggestion to mom who reserved the whole series at her public library, to read to her 6 and 8 year-old. We got started, ironically, on Martin Luther King Day, and pulled out his biography, which inspires kids to love others, do right and use your words to peacefully make change, without violence. Rosa Parks was my little friend’s next choice, which inspired a conversation on racial inequality, daring to stand up for herself on what is right and changing “the rules” to be fair for everyone. There is thorough content in each life story, with a timeline and plenty of pictures for children to see how a child can grow up to be an adult who impacts the world. When we read Lucille Ball, it was evident that my little 6 and 8 year-old weren’t as familiar with her as I was. I was trying to explain the “wrapping candies on the conveyor belt” skit when I got out my computer and showed the video. Lucille Ball’s humor transcended generations as I was asked to keep playing it over and over! Jane Goodall was a favorite as my 8 year-old had been read several books about this female scientist and even had a doll accessory set with cot, desk, binoculars, journal and typewriter for pretend play. What an inspiring story to teach pursuit of your dreams, patience, curiosity, and making an impact on the world.
These biographies are an excellent source of language lessons for the classroom or therapy, as children can name character traits, accomplishments, and impact on society. Lots of writing prompts come to mind–What is your dream? What is unjust in your world? What do you want to learn more about?
Abraham Lincoln and Lucille Ball.